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Alec Stewart in California & Hawaii

by Alec Stewart on 04 December 2015, 11:12AM

England cricket legend Alec Stewart travelled with Travelbag to California and Hawaii. He visited Los Angeles before heading to Hawaii where he experienced Big Island and Maui, before finishing his trip in San Francisco.

After a long cricket season it was nice to get away and head to a place where you can escape the sport and enjoy time with my family. This trip, which I took with my wife Lynn, was an absolutely perfect way to end a successful summer with Surrey Cricket Club.

In our first stop, Los Angeles we stayed at the fantastic Mr C, a luxury boutique hotel located in Beverley Hills and just a mile from the high-end shops on Rodeo Drive, which went down well with my wife. We spent some time window shopping and spotting the various filming locations from Pretty Woman, one of her favourite movies.

LA is a big sprawling city and I would definitely recommend hiring a car whilst there so you can make the most of your time. Public transport is fairly limited and the cost of taxis can add up so it definitely makes sense to have your own transport and therefore freedom to explore where and when you want.

We did the walk of fame of all the stars on the sidewalk which is a good thing to tick off, and we went to see the Kodak theatre which is where the OSCARs are held. We also took a bus tour with TMZ which gave us some light-hearted information on the area, such as where the stars go to drink! Normally when I go away after a long season I lie on a beach for 7-10 days then come home but this was more of a tourist trip.

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I’d definitely recommend a visit to Santa Monica and spend the day on the beach, enjoying the sunshine and eating at some of the many places along the beach-front which all offer great people watching opportunities. Muscle Beach is also great fun to see, I didn’t join in but there were lots of people there working out and doing some serious posing!
The restaurants in LA we visited were recommended by the hotel concierge. The Itacho Japanese restaurant on Beverley Boulevard and the Mortons Steak House Beverley Hills were both very good.


We then took the five hour flight down to Hawaii where we stayed in Big Island to start with at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel on the Kohala Coast. We enjoyed six days of recharging the batteries; lots of time by the pool doing very little, which was just what was needed.

On the other side of the island to the hotel you find the rainforest and a live volcano. This is a two and a half hour drive away, or you can take a tour by helicopter. Unfortunately on the day we were due to do this visibility was too poor so it had to be cancelled, however if you are more lucky than us with the weather I would definitely say you should do it as a real treat.


We did not go hungry during our stay, with the hotel offering a choice of four high quality restaurants, plus lots of additional choice 15 minutes from the hotel at The Shops at Mauna Lani. We would recommend Monstera Japanese if you are into good sushi and also The Blue Room which specialises in European / French food. Ruth's Chris Steak House was brilliant too, so good in fact that we ate there twice.


Every Monday & Thursday there is a free Hawaiian show performed in the small shopping centre. I can recommend that you go and see this, it really was very good and it was interesting to watch the Hawaiian dancers and the Haka being performed for you.

Our next stop was to Maui which was a 30 minute flight away. Here we stayed in Lahaina at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.

We got a car this time and drove up the coast which was stunning, it really tested your driving skills and I don’t think I got out of second gear, luckily mine was automatic. It was a real zig zag, you had the ocean on one side and the forests on the other with the rugged scenery and the off waterfalls too. It was a very scenic route and I was really pleased we did that. Visit the blow hole if you are wearing the right shoes to walk down the cliffs.  There’s a good golf course we stopped off at for lunch called the Pineapple Grill. Sit outside to see the golf course with the players coming up 18th and excellent views of the sea.


To make up what we missed out on during our stay on Big Island we ended up doing a helicopter trip with Sunshine Helicopters. We got a good 75 minutes in the air and saw the island of Molokai with its waterfalls cascading down the highest sea cliffs in the world, coral reefs plus areas that were used to film Jurassic Park before we returned through the West Maui Mountains.

It is an early start but make sure you make the effort to visit Haleakala volcano East Maui to watch the sunrise. It’s over two hour drive up very steep, winding roads to get to the volcano but worth it.

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While in Maui we also took the road to Hana, it’s a very scenic drive with waterfalls and lovely scenery but a testing drive with very narrow, steep, winding roads. Before setting off stop and have breakfast at Cafe Mambo in Paia, a laid back hippy town full of surfers just before the start of the drive.

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Take a picnic lunch with you as not really anywhere to stop and eat on the road to Hana but it's all about the drive and the scenery. Mama's Fish House restaurant near Paia on the way back is superb and is a must, make sure you book first as it’s very popular.

After a great time in Hawaii we made the trip up to San Francisco for the last leg of our holiday where we stayed at the Cliff Hotel on Geary Street. It was a funky, boutique five star hotel located at the bottom of Nob Hill.

There are so many options for great things to see and do in San Francisco. One strong recommendation is the trip to Alcatraz Prison, it’s a must! Visit Pier 39 to watch the sea lions basking in the sun and making a lot of noise, they smell pretty bad but they are funny. Walk to the Ferry building and visit the Farmers market, grab a gluten free sandwich. Walk or cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and either taxi or cycle down into Sausalito for lunch.

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Our whole trip was incredible and a great mix of exploration and relaxation; a perfect end to a busy season.


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